torsdag 3 december 2009

Zarathushtra, Spinoza, and the need for intuition and passion to understand The Gathas

Dear Ardeshir and Dino

I believe Dino's point is that for those who do NOT understand the Avesta it is second best to read different translations and preferrably also translations to several different languages to better understand the Gathic text. Train your critical thinking! And Ardeshir is right that a "rationalist interpretation" is not enough since it is based on the incorrect assumption that there is a human ratio to be used while human intuition would be secondary and untrustworthy.

It is of course the other way round. We need rationalism PLUS intuition to grasp The Gathas and Zoroastrian philosophy. This is why "the rationalists" often fall into the trap of interpreting Zoroastrianism as some sort of inferior older take of Abrahamic religion when it in reality is nothing of the sort. You can not understand concepts like "Ahura Mazda", "asha" or "haurvatat" without studying them within context and using both your ratio and your patio when doing so. Meditation on these concepts should be a requirement before pronounving theories on them, to be honest.

Ardeshir, believe it or not, but for many of us the connection to Spinoza is even stronger! Emotional! Most contemporary western converts to Zoroastrianism (like myself, Dino Demarchi, Arthur Pearlstein, and many many others) are all Spinozists who just want to recognize that "Spinozist thinking" did not start with Spinoza or even with any of the Greeks (like Heraklitus) but in Iran 3,700 years ago with Zarathushtra.

This is why we have chosen to convert! Because by becoming a part of Zoroastrianism, Spinozism is no longer just "philosophy" but also becomes a religion. And recognition is long overdue: It was Zarathushtra who originated this whole school of thought. Spinoza was just his "western ambassador" for which we as westerners are all deeply grateful.


2009/12/3 ardeshir farhmand

Dear Kain

learning gathas or avestan language and their correct prounounciation should be rather EASY for a german or swedish speaker, since almost every word in the gathas or avesta has a parallel in old norse.

i do not agree that comparing translations, without refering to the original language is helpful. becz many translations are rather deductions of the translators/missionaries. Furthermore, the superb poetic and intuitive style of the gathas can be grasped ONLY in its ORIGINAL language.

being Rational and acting according to reason is "the command of our religion." yet, denying intution and vaster horizons behind our mundane understanding is sheer ignorance.
in other words, sounding rational but being blind to higher understanding and intuitive knowledge is not rational but ignorance.

a scholar job is not to please others, and present a so-called scientifically accepted theory that will be discredited in time to sugarcode something to make it more palable.
a scholar job is to be as inquisitive as possible, discuss various commentaries and exegesis accurately and fairly, draw his/her conclusions and be open to other commentaries based on credible citations and not personal fantasies.

the problem is that we have either sheer ignorance of the wisdom of the ancient commentaries on the part of the so-called traditionalists and /or zero knowledge of, plus total refutal and hostility toward the ancient exegesis on the part of the so-called reformists.

we MUST cite the actual text and discuss the words, their etymology, roots, sound play, most ancient commentaries on the subject, and compare it to related traditions of vedas, vedanta, and norse and then make a sound judgment.

what i see in both camps is expression of persoanl fantasies and opinions that might or might not agree with the message of the ancient seer Zarathushtra.

On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 7:51 AM, Special Kain wrote:

Dear Ardeshir,

For non-Avestan speakers I would suggest to cross-read and compare different translations also in different languages, such as comparing English translations with the only German translation available or with French and Swedish translations. But we also have to see that Zarathushtra considered himself as a teacher and was hoping for future teachers to take on where he left.
Personally, I embrace that rationalistic movement that's stripping the Kaplans's superstitions off the Gathas. Bahman Varza who translated the Gathas to German made some smart remarks about the Kaplans's involvement and interests and that some verses probably were inserted many years or even decades after Zarathushtra's death.

Ushta, Dino

--- ardeshir farhmand schrieb am Do, 3.12.2009:

Von: ardeshir farhmand
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Re: Alexander Bard speaking out about Zoroastrianism on Kurdish International Te
Datum: Donnerstag, 3. Dezember 2009, 16:07

I should add and really stress that a good book on zoroastrian philo is the 3rd book of Denkard with numerous gathic references. unfortunately the english TRANSLATION is poor, and has a biblical tone to it.

Mr. Mehr is a prominent zoroastrian, but his book is based on personal convictions and opinions rather than a exegesis of the gathas or cittation of the relevant gathic/avestan sources. He is part of a so-called "rationalist" movement that tries to deny every spiritual and intuitive understanding of the gathas, in favor of a so-called scientific method that has long been outdated and discredited.

i suggest books by "dhalla" posted on, also iraj taraporwala, has illuminating writings on the subject.

i caution again that every argument should be based on the original gathic texts and their most ancient commentaries with a comparative study of the vedas, vedanta, and norse mythology. reyling on personal views of so-called rationalists is a grave mistake in true understanding of the gathas.

also, i strongly concur with alexander on his views on spinoza and the analysis of the zoroastian philo and comparing it with spinoza.


On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 1:24 AM, Georgios wrote:

Dear Alexander,

I don't know if some values are indeed relative in Zoroastrianism. Farhang Mehr in his book "The Zoroastrian tradition" states that good is what benefits you AND the society-nature. I agree with this definition of "good". It's not a static-moralistic definition, but rather a dynamic one.


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